At present, many individual hotels in China hope to "chain" and achieve cost reduction and efficiency improvement by sharing the resources of large hotel groups.

However, "joining" often means giving up its own characteristics, and at the same time paying not cheap franchise fees and decoration fees.

This is a difficult choice for many individual hotels or regional hotel brands with strong personalization.

  In this context, soft brands have once again become the focus of attention in the hotel field.

Major hotel groups have launched a more flexible and rich soft brand model for individual hotels in different market segments, from "soft and hard" to "brand co-creation", attracting more individual hotels to join, and revitalizing domestic storage capacity market.

It is worth noting that the popularity of soft brands just conforms to the accommodation preferences of the new generation of consumers, that is, the pursuit of individuality and characteristics.

Soft brands are popular again, can hotel groups and independent hotels achieve a win-win situation?

Aiming at high-end single hotels, the renovation was completed in 60 days to reduce costs and improve efficiency

  When it comes to the chain trend of independent hotels, many people pay more attention to the renovation and renovation of old economy hotels or mid-range hotels.

As everyone knows, in the domestic hotel stock market, there are also huge opportunities for high-end hotel brands in terms of chaining of individual hotels.

Zhao Zhiran, an independent hotel consultant, said that in recent years, especially after the epidemic, more and more independent hotel owners hope to renovate and use the scale and management expertise of international hotel groups to obtain better benefits.

On the other hand, international hotel groups aim at the market opportunity of stock conversion, and launch flexible and diverse "soft brand" cooperation models for rebranding and renovation properties.

  For example, Hilton Group’s two lifestyle hotel brands, Curio Collection by Hilton and Qibin Collection by Hilton, have opened 5 hotels in China, covering Xiamen, Lushan, Sanya and Langfang, Hebei and other destinations. 7 are under construction.

"The proportion of 'Generation Z' in the tourist group is getting higher and higher. Compared with traditional hotel brands, they prefer niche hotels with unique styles. And 'Generation Z' is precisely the high-quality traffic that hotel groups hope to obtain." Zhao Zhiran Analysis shows that the current rapid development of soft brands of international hotel groups is related to changes in market demand and consumer groups.

"Hilton Group is relying on independent hotel brands to meet personalized travel needs and form a diversified brand matrix; the flexible cooperation model of selected brands can also better meet the needs of current hotel stock conversion and achieve win-win long-term development. ."

  Affected by the epidemic, the owners of individual hotels who are in urgent need of chaining have put forward new requirements, "try to maintain the original properties, and complete the upgrading and transformation of the hotel quickly and efficiently." For example, Hangzhou Minghao voco Hotel opened in September 2020 , formerly known as Hangzhou Minghao International Hotel, it took only more than 60 days from the signing of the management contract to the opening.

It is understood that the voco brand was launched by InterContinental Hotels Group four years ago and is regarded by the industry as a "soft brand" for the transformation of high-end hotel stock into market demand. It will enter China in 2020, and 6 hotels have opened.

However, InterContinental Hotels Group emphasized that voco does not highly weaken brand standards like most soft brands, but instead emphasizes brand standards, such as requirements for property conditions and attention to guest experience.

  According to the introduction of InterContinental Hotels Group, in response to the high-end individual hotel owners' demand for return on investment and flexible transformation, the brand team will give them a quick turnaround solution in a short period of time, through artworks, soft decoration and mascots and other elements, so that the brand elements can be quickly adjusted and implemented in each hotel, and the cost is controllable; on the premise of ensuring that the guest experience is not affected, it can achieve rapid opening, reduce costs and increase efficiency.

After the opening and opening, it will give support to the hotel group, using brand and system strength, marketing and operation system, mature staff training, etc., to help the hotel improve guest experience and financial performance.

Data shows that in 2020, stock conversion projects accounted for a quarter of the total number of contracts signed by IHG, of which voco accounted for more than half.

  Zhao Zhiran emphasized that for high-end hotel owners, chain hotel groups have many advantages such as risk management, large-scale cost reduction, market analysis and forecasting, membership system and distribution channels, but the cost of transformation is high, "Therefore, those who can provide owners with Of course, 'soft brands' that are easier to transform the franchise process and have a higher return on investment are more popular."

Small and beautiful regional hotels need to achieve "0-1", brand co-creation may solve development bottlenecks

  In 2019, Yin Qianyuan, as the co-founder, based on the integration of the resources of Yingshang Group, started a new hotel brand of Sino, "mainly targeting the new generation of people, using the small unit properties in the city center to create a new hotel model of accommodation + socializing .” It is understood that Sino Hotel is not large, each hotel has about 60 rooms, but the bar, restaurant, gym, laundry room and other facilities are complete, and the appearance is high. After opening, it is very popular among young people.

At present, Sino is mainly engaged in the South China market. Eight hotels have opened in Guangzhou, and there are also layouts in Hangzhou and Huangshan.

"In order to achieve a 0-1 start-up brand, it needs a strong Internet system, including membership, management, sales, etc., but for us, the development and maintenance costs are too high." He admitted that with the further expansion of the hotel scale, it is necessary to When doing chaining, we encountered a bottleneck.

  Industry insiders believe that due to the impact of the epidemic, market uncertainty has increased, and regional hotel brands are more cautious in developing directly-operated stores, and they hope to achieve brand expansion through the franchise model.

However, ordinary franchises emphasize brand standards in products and focus on management and control in operations, which is obviously not suitable for them.

Zhao Zhiran pointed out that in order to maintain the brand characteristics of these small regional hotel chains, they need the help of a more flexible "soft brand" model.

  In recent years, in the soft brand strategy of domestic hotel groups, not only for single hotels, but also for investors who want to be chain brands, they have launched corresponding cooperation models.

Among them, the "brand co-creation" plan proposed by Shangmei Life Group directly targets the development pain points of regional hotel brands, including the lack of brand development resources and capabilities, and the lack of systematic standards in hotel membership and precise marketing management.

Zhao Zhiran pointed out that the advantages of small regional hotel chains lie in their unique products, and their local operation and service capabilities even surpass those of large hotel chain groups. "

  "We have a small number of hotels, and it is difficult to find suppliers who are willing to tailor products for us, and the price can't come down." Yin Qianyuan told the Beijing News Shell Finance reporter that the reason why he chose to join the "brand co-creation" was because he was interested in Shangmei. Open up a powerful middle-office system and supply chain, and provide national development resources to help brands expand scale, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

He mentioned that by using Chaumet's supply chain and fast-packing model, Sino can reduce the cost of each room by 10,000 to 30,000 yuan.

At present, Sino's expansion target has been increased from 100 stores in three years to 300 stores in three years. "We are considering cooperation in expanding stores in central China."

  It is understood that "brand co-creation", as an iterative upgrade of the brand incubation model of Shangmei Life, takes advantage of the Group's advantages in technology, expansion and supply chain capabilities to help customers create hotel brands and rapidly develop new stores.

Up to now, Shangmei Life Group has completed the co-creation and cooperation with Sino, Olanya and other brands.

Yuan Fei, head of the co-creation of Shangmei Life brand, said that Shangmei has been focusing on the construction of China-Taiwan capabilities for many years, and the strong China-Taiwan capabilities have become the core competitiveness.

"The brand co-creation strategy opens up the capabilities of China and Taiwan to the market, helps start-up brands to accelerate their development, and reserves project resources for potential future strategic investments and mergers and acquisitions." He emphasized that compared with ordinary franchises, Shangmei through brand co-creation gives Regional brand empowerment can not only help regional brands to supply shortcomings in development, supply chain, system and membership, etc., but also support them to exert their own advantages and create new brand tonality.

  In this regard, Zhao Huanyan, chief knowledge officer and senior economist of Huamei Hotel Consulting Agency, said that the main demand of regional small chain hotel brands is to obtain more customers, and the focus of hotel groups is precisely on strengthening the customer source system and reservation system.

He suggested that the brand co-creation plan of Shangmei Life should focus on promoting the advantages of the customer source system and the reservation system.

There is no strong brand that "dominates the world", and diversified soft brands are more suitable for the current stock market

  In the hotel industry, "soft brand" is not a new term. Its predecessor can be traced back to the independent hotel alliance that existed in the early 20th century, and now it has evolved into independent soft brand groups, such as Preferred Hotels and Resorts, Leading World, Roland & Chateaux, etc., are mainly aimed at some small independent luxury hotels, among which the properties with historical buildings or designer buildings are the most popular.

In the eyes of some "hotel control", these soft-brand hotels are more refined and luxurious than five-star hotels.

For example, Preferred Hotels and Resorts currently has 15 member hotels in China, which are divided into luxury, high-end five-star, design art lifestyle, leisure business and high-end apartment-style hotels according to market segments.

Yinyu Shuitian Health Resort, a member of the LVX series, covers an area of ​​189,000 square meters and focuses on health preservation culture and experience; the other Shanghai Yangtze Hotel is a historic hotel, built in 1933, with Art Deco style and old Shanghai style. Combining classics.

In addition, many international hotel chains also have soft brand matrices, commonly known as "selected", covering a series of independent hotels, resorts and holiday apartments.

However, what really made the soft brand "out of the circle" was OYO's crazy expansion in China's sinking market a few years ago. It once accommodated 19,000 hotels, but in 2020 there are only more than a thousand hotels left, and its blind pursuit The speed and quantity of expansion, regardless of the way of quality control and operation, make many people misunderstand the "soft brand".

  Zhao Zhiran said that soft brands are actually aimed at "hard brands". In short, their relationship with chain hotel groups is more "flexible". Share the resources, system, membership system, marketing strategy, public relations support and brand endorsement of the chain hotel group.

In recent years, soft brands have become popular both domestically and globally, mainly due to the fact that hotels have entered the "deep cultivation" stock market. On the one hand, affected by the epidemic, individual hotels hope to "warm together", while soft brands are more expensive in franchise fees and decoration costs, etc. On the other hand, the hotel group also hopes to occupy the stock market by developing soft brands and rapidly expand its scale.

  Not only that, she also pointed out that some individual hotel owners or investors of small chain hotels often have a lot of hotel feelings, not just to make money through hotels, but also to build their own brands, "although chain hotel groups often have There are dozens or even dozens of brand matrices, and many investors still choose soft brands to join, just hoping to retain the hotel's personality and characteristics." In addition, Yin Qianyuan also said in an interview with the Beijing News Shell Finance reporter that the hotel is not a fast-earning business. It is a tool for money, but a more stable investment method. "In the future, investing in hotels may be passed down from generation to generation."

  At present, the pain point of most independent hotels is that even if the products are excellent, without the resources of the hotel group, they will face bottlenecks in management, operation, passenger flow and revenue growth in the later stage.

Therefore, various hotel groups have launched a variety of more flexible soft brands according to individual hotels of different scales and different needs.

Zhao Huanyan believes that the advantage of soft brands is that they can adapt to a wide range and do not require unified hardware requirements. Therefore, the joining process is simple and fast, and it is very suitable for current needs.

However, he also reminded that the disadvantage of soft brands is the low degree of chaining. Hotel groups should study diversified soft brands that match with different market needs, and attract individual hotels that are suitable for market segments to join. There is no strong brand that "dominates the world", including international hotel brands."

  Beijing News Shell Finance reporter Qu Xiaoyi

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